When I write like this and the words flow, when every day as soon as I get out of my bed, I need to remember where I left the strain of my thought the day before and from where I shall begin today, I feel elated. When I gather my days in the evenings as if they are pitchers filled with words, those thoughts resonate in my body
and mind. These days, roaming in the world of rhymes, there seems no end to the variety of images and emotions — of joy and sorrow — that touch my sensibility. Sometimes my eyes fill with tears, at other times perhaps I smile within me. Today, while taking a stroll, I was thinking where, in all these, is my joy. The truth lies
perhaps in the fact that the strength of my soul lies in feeling. When I am in pain, holding again in me some ancient memory, there is joy. The joy of that pain is in my ability to feel all of it again, once more. Thus the awareness of my heart spreads from the seen to the unseen, it extends over the present and the past. This feeling is closer to us in sorrow rather than in happiness — the imagination that brings pain to us is deeper and is revealed more clearly. Is it for this reason that in Art sorrow enjoys such a wide expanse?
I can’t bring myself to read some literary creations of the first order like Othello or Kenilworth a second time. A consideration here must be that there is a difference between the joys and sorrows of the real world and that of literature. The emotions of the real world are mixed and complex. Our self, even our physical strife is attached to it. The same emotions in literature are purely mental. None of our duties, considerations of our self, the barriers of the physical world or the satisfaction or fatigue of the body is related to it. Hence the joy of literature takes us to the extreme end of it where we hit a wall and bounce back. Every emotion in it gives us the taste of the eternal. ….When I express myself, I am going through a process of education. I have received most of my education in this way. If you stifle me, my school will remain closed.
Yesterday after quite some days, the clouds and the rain disappeared revealing the golden sunlight of early autumn. Perhaps I had forgotten that there is sunshine in the world; but when it broke out and illuminated the sky at around ten or eleven, it appeared as if I saw it anew and the mind filled with amazement. The day appeared marvellous. I spread my legs on an armchair in the afternoon after my shower and lunch and, half-asleep, indulged in my wakeful dreams. I could see a few coconut trees in front — beyond them, as far as I could see, spread the cornfields and where it ended, there was a faint blue trace of trees in the distance. A dove was calling and sometimes I could hear the jingle-bells attached to the neck of the cows.
A squirrel sat on its legs, suddenly perked its head and disappeared.
There was a silent stillness all around. A breeze blew and the leaves of the coconut trees shivered. A few farmers gathered at a place making small bundles of the saplings of rice plants. I could see only this little activity around me.
Today so early in the morning I lay awake in bed listening to the
ululation of the women from the bathing ghats. As I listened, the mind became numb, but I didn’t know why. Perhaps, with such an announcement of joy, it is possible to feel that I have no relation with the great flow of activities happening in the world — that most men of the world are not related to me and yet their daily chores, their joys and sorrows, their ceremonies of happiness are taking place around me. How large is this world! How widespread is the household of man! The voice of life flows from afar — and I get the news of a house which is completely unknown. When man realises: ‘However big am I to myself, I can’t fill the world with all of me — that most of the world is unknown to me, that it is unknowable, unrelated to me, bereft of me’ — then in this large and loose world our own selves seem dwarfs, abandoned, marginal; it is then that an expansive melancholy rises in my heart. Moreover, in this ululation, the past and the future — indeed the whole of life stands in front of my eyes as a very long and protracted road and from one of its shaded ends, the sound reached my ears. Thus I began my day today. Soon the naibs, the officers and the tenants will reach me and even the last trace of its resonance will leave me; it will appear that the feeble ‘past’ and the ‘future’ of life will be nudged aside by the more forceful presence of the young ‘present’ who will salute me and stand before me.
[Lines randomly selected and translated from Rabindranath Tagore’s ছিন্নপত্র (Torn Letters)]